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Forty Days of Proclamation: Grateful

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

40 Days is Proclamation: GRATEFUL

Crystal Smith

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful (grateful) in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Paul’s final advice to us, among other things, in 1 Thessalonians is to always be joyful, to never stop praying and to be thankful (grateful) in ALL circumstances because it’s His will for everyone who belongs to Christ.

When I read that and let those words sink in, well, that seems close to impossible. Looking over this past year, it seems laughable when you look at many circumstances so many people have faced. Let me be honest, I’m not always joyful (just ask my family), I definitely don’t pray all the time (stubborn much?) and when things are not going well (think homeschooling a child with dyslexia and ADHD, unforeseen expenses all happening at once and a major pay cut due to Covid-19, ETC.) it’s simply a huge challenge to find a grateful heart “in all circumstances”. I don’t think I’m alone here...can I get an Amen? I’m sure all of you can insert your own circumstances many of which make the few I mentioned look quite pathetic. But HIS WORD says this is “God’s will for us who belong in Christ” which means he’s speaking to ME and YOU!

So let me switch things around a bit...I’m so grateful that I get to sit at home during a pandemic because my company allowed me to KEEP MY JOB and help my child who, yes, struggles like nobody’s business to read and comprehend, yet is a healthy, vibrant child that is living and breathing and my son! I get to do this WITH him and I’m grateful for him! My husband did NOT lose his job so while he took a pay cut we are GRATEFUL he still had a job when it could be much worse and when the multiple repairs and extra expenses we did not foresee happened in a domino effect, we are grateful we can make a plan to cover those expenses even though it was hard.

God simply wants us to pause and reflect from time to time. My perspective can get skewed because when things don’t “look” like I want them to, He, in his goodness, can show up and show out and allow us to see the good he has for us even in the hard times.

I have found in 2020 that God gave me more time with my family to simply Be. We played endless games of “horse” and “around the world” (which I usually dominated) as an entire family. We would have never had the time for all that before. We watched movies and ate popcorn. We cried with each other during homeschool but also did a lot of laughing too. (I’m not sure any laughter happened during home school sessions to be honest). But we had plenty of time for laughter and fun when we weren’t having to rush from one event to the next like “normal”. We had trips to the farm with a family we became even closer to that will forever be etched in the best of memories.

I am grateful for the endless projects I had to complete on our home and because God gifted me time at home, I accomplished those. I look back in awe at what had to be done and how there would have been no way to accomplish what I did had I not been afforded the time at home.

The funny thing is in many of the moments I did not stand in a place of gratefulness. When I stopped and looked back, it overwhelmed me at how much I had to be grateful for. There is a lot about this pandemic that I don’t care for...but there is so much good that I’ve gleaned from it, and it truly makes my heart swell with gratitude.

God really does work all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose for them. He’s shown me this over and over during 2020.

I pray each of you take a moment to pause and take inventory of your 2020. Some of you have been dealt extremely heavy blows, and some have found it to be the best thing that ever happened to allow your lives to slow down. Some have lost loved ones and we all ache for those gone. But no matter what you’ve experienced, we are called to praise him and give him thanks. There is always always always something to be grateful for...sometimes we just have to be still long enough to recognize them.

Psalm 100:4-5, Philippians 4:6-7, Colossians 2:6-7, Colossians 3:15-17

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank you for ALL the things life has thrown at me this year because it’s allowed me to lean on you more. When things get tough, you really are where I find true solace and peace. It’s easy for me to be grateful when things are going smoothly and I truly am, but I also am so thankful for the peace and comfort you provide when I think I’m being swallowed up in all the things this world can throw at me. I’m thankful you hear my pleas and calm the storms. I’m thankful for this group of women who encourage and love so deeply. I’m so thankful for your word which is TRUTH and thankful for the one who paid it all.

In Jesus Name~Amen